Artists' Legal Rights Sessions: COVID-19 Special

Artists’ Legal Rights Sessions

From copyright to consignment agreements, an artist’s practice can often feel fraught with pitfalls not covered at art school. Beginning on 11th June 2020, Block 336 will present a series of interactive talks on artists’ legal rights over the coming months, designed to explore some of the recurring themes in this area through the lens of how they affect artists. Organised by intellectual property lawyer and Block 336 board member Jon Sharples, the sessions will bring together artists and arts and legal professionals to discuss copyright, artists’ contracts, artists’ estates and more. Alongside these talks, Block 336 will also collate and present information about available resources, advice clinics and law firms with pro bono offerings. Originally intended to be hosted at the gallery, the series will now be presented as webinars via Zoom.


Session 1: COVID-19 Special

Thurs 11 June 2020, 6 – 7.30pm 

Chaired by Jon Sharples


The first talk is a COVID-19 special, an addition to the original line up of talks as conceived at the start of this year. Focusing on issues raised by the pandemic, this session brings together internationally-acclaimed artist Rana Begum and Fatoş Üstek, Director of Liverpool Biennial and 2020 Turner Prize jury member, with Vicky Wickremeratne, employment lawyer at Allen & Overy; Jason Bright, insurance lawyer at Simmons & Simmons; and Richard Forsdyke, real estate lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills. The conversation will consider how the pandemic has impacted artists and institutions, as well as areas of mutual incomprehension between the art world and corporate employers, insurers and landlords. 

Disclaimer (as you might expect!) – the lawyers speaking can give general guidance only and what they say does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

Rana Begum is an artist living and working in London. Through her refined language of Minimalist abstraction, Begum blurs the boundaries between sculpture, painting and architecture and distills spatial and visual experience into ordered form. She is represented by Kate MacGarry, London, Jhaveri Contemporary, India, The Third Line Gallery, Dubai, Christian Lethert, Germany and Cristea Roberts, London and was recently elected as a Royal Academician. 

Fatoş Üstek is Director of Liverpool Biennial, 2020 Turner Prize jury member, and is an external member of the acquisitions committee for Arts Council England (2018-2020).  Üstek curates, lectures and publishes internationally. 

Vicky Wickremeratne is an employment lawyer at Allen & Overy. 

Jason Bright is an insurance lawyer at Simmons & Simmons.

Richard Forsdyke is a real estate lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills and Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Poetry School, an Arts Council England NPO. 

Jon Sharples is an art and intellectual property lawyer, currently consulting for both Simmons & Simmons and Canvas Art Law. Jon also oversees operations at The Poetry School and is a trustee of Block 336 and Liverpool Biennial.

Attendees are invited to submit questions on areas of interest in advance of the sessions, and there will also be time reserved for a discussion with attendees of the themes arising. 

Each session’s attendees will be entered into a draw to win a mixed case of beer from our long-standing sponsors Brixton Brewery, which will be delivered to the lucky winner’s doorstep! Please email us at if you would prefer not to be entered for the draw. 

Block 336 thanks Arts Council England, London Community Response Fund, Canvas Art Law and Brixton Brewery for their kind support.